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Oklahoma Sooners Football: A recap of the 2023 NFL Draft

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Thoughts on the prospects for each of the OU players drafted by the NFL this year.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft offered few surprises for the Oklahoma Sooners players hoping to hear their names called during the three-day event.

After OU players were shut out of the first rounds of the previous two drafts, the Jacksonville Jaguars snapped up offensive tackle Anton Harrison with the 27th overall pick. Harrison and OT Wayna Morris, a third-round selection of the Kansas City Chiefs, added to the already impressive track record of development by OU offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh.

In total, five OU prospects were picked in this year’s draft. Here’s a rundown of who’s going where and what the future probably holds for them.

Anton Harrison, OT: Jacksonville Jaguars - Round 1, No. 27

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A bundle of potential from the moment he arrived in Norman, Harrison grew into one of the most effective linemen in the entire country during the 2022 season. Now he appears poised to take over a starting job with one of the more promising young teams in the league in Jacksonville.

The Jags need Harrison to play to his potential immediately. Starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor, and left tackle Cam Robinson will reportedly get an NFL-mandated vacation to start the 2023 season. At worst, Harrison will be in the starting lineup until Robinson returns from his suspension. He may find a home at the opposite tackle spot after that.

Marvin Mims, WR: Denver Broncos - Round 2, No. 63


Mims snuck into the second round as a compensatory pick, which seems to be in line with pre-draft expectations. He should expect to play immediately.

The good news for Mims is that offensive guru Sean Payton is taking over as Denver’s head coach. Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson looked washed up last season, but Payton may have a chance to coax Wilson to play the best ball he has left this year. Denver’s leading receiver in ‘22, Jerry Jeudy, may get dealt before the season starts. That would seemingly position Mims as Wilson’s first or second option in the passing game.

Wanya Morris, OT: Kansas City Chiefs - Round 3, No. 93


Morris’ career at OU ended with plenty of meat left on the bone. That doesn’t preclude him from turning into a longtime starter in the NFL, of course, but the Tennessee transfer’s muted impact with the Sooners should raise concerns for KC. Morris will find himself squarely in the mix for a starting job with the defending world champions this year, a development that would have seemed outlandish about 12 months ago.

Eric Gray, RB: New York Giants - Round 5, No. 172

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Another Tennessee transfer, Gray’s maturation into an NFL-caliber player became apparent during the 2022 season at OU. Gray’s versatility offsets a lack of explosiveness that probably kept him out of the upper echelon of RB prospects in this crop.

Normally, Gray would have little shot at showing out this year, but the Giants’ relationship with RB Saquon Barkley looks dicey at the moment. Will that open the door for Gray to compete for a starting job? Only if New York moves on from Barkley, obviously. The team could still look to Gray for depth now while assessing a larger role for him in New York’s backfield going forward.

Brayden Willis, TE: San Francisco 49ers - Round 7, No. 247

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Oklahoma at Florida State Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers seemingly have a knack for drafting good football players with little concern for fitting them into a niche. That sums up a versatile player like Willis. Unfortunately, Willis’ lack of mass poses a challenge at a skill position that also requires so much blocking.

Willis could turn into a special teams demon if the Niners stick with him. That may not justify giving him a roster spot, though, in the minds of the organization’s decision-makers.